The delightful spa town of Malvern is located 3 hours from London by car in Worcestershire and accessible directly by train from Paddington. With numerous attractions nearby (visit www.visitthemalverns.org) including spectacular walks it is an ideal spot to break away from city life, put away your mobile, and just relax.
I visited specifically to stay and eat at Cottage in the Wood. With its steep access road and switchbacks – it offered a sense of intrigue and suspense which I relish. I was not disappointed when into view came the main house, Beech Cottage and The Coach House, each offered a different historic architectural aesthetic.
A key ingredient of any hotel is the reception you receive - get it wrong at your peril! My greeting was warm, friendly and welcoming, In fact all the staff were genuinely fantastic, but more on that later.
Being 2.5 miles from Malvern and in the country, the hotel offered peace and tranquillity, and weather permitting a chance to sit outside and take in the picturesque view of the Severn Valley floor below you. It was here that I enjoyed a local ale, purely because I saw the brewer delivering a couple of crates on arrival and love to drink local produce where possible.
It was the promise of good food that was the main attraction to me. Rob Mason was installed as Head Chef just as the first lockdown was put into place which must have been hugely frustrating for him and the hotel. Two years later and he is fully up and running. I have a particular interest in learning about how dishes are created and formulated in a chefs mind, so I took the opportunity to sit down with Rob and discuss his three favourite dishes on the menu in detail which you see in the film I made. All three were utterly delicious.
I mentioned earlier that the staff could not have been better and I meant it. I was taken ill in the night with a kidney stone, and with no ambulances able to take me to hospital being a non emergency, the head House Keeper drove me 30 minutes to the local hospital. This was incredibly kind of her and demonstrates the level of service offered here.
If fine food and waking up to a spectacular view is high on your list of loves, then book a room that overlooks either the Severn Valley, Vale of Evesham or the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. Malvern itself is picturesque and the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a spot of much needed rejuvenation, so why not plan an escape and treat yourself to a break here?